1000 a Day – Day 13

I don’t think I’m going to mess around with the publish dates anymore. It was fun while it lasted but I think my annal retentiveness when it comes to actually publishing one a day is over. I’d still like to publish one a day, if possible, and plan to, starting now that is. It’s been a what, week long hiatus? I hope to make up for it with some more consistency. I think I may be missing some structure in my life; this may be a good way to provide at least a minimal bit. I just have to psychologically view it as such a structure for it to actually be effective and for me to actual commit to it. The memories to follow are going to also be a lot lengthier because they’re far more formulated as actual memories. They’re also probably going to be a little messier as far as the chronology goes because we’re talking everything from the age of six until now. I’ll do my best, but it may not better. I have grand hopes of all of these little posts somehow adding up to “me” so to speak anyways so it may not matter what order they’re presented in so long as the ultimate effect is the same. And one long introduction and or preface finished, let’s start with my very first memory after I arrived in the States, which actually happens to be very short but is good at illustrating the particular contexts which are relevant at the time and which actually happens to be a dream.

I’m standing next to a large, well kept field of grass on the campus of Caltech, something like the main quad. I’m standing on a pure white sidewalk that runs the entire perimeter of the field. At the head of the field is a large, white ornate building that looks like any main university administration building, and at the foot is a large, shallow pond that’s filled with lily pads and flowers, thick underwater growth, and crayfish. There’s also a single fountain spout at the center of the pond sending up a constant stream of water. I’m standing there completely still and silent until I realize there’s a large, green praying mantis at the edge of the grass in front of me. I stoop down to get a closer look at it, then put out my right palm for it to climb onto. I stand up with the praying mantis in the palm of my hand, its size dwarfing my palm. It turns around a couple of times as I stand up, examining my hand, then with one quick stroke it cuts a huge gash with into my palm, and I wake up. I look at my hand and wouldn’t you know it, there’s a scar right where the mantis had cut me in my dream. (Oooooh, spooky!)

Now for the context. I arrive in the US shortly after Easter 1990. I am six years old at the time and living with my father and mother in a small one bedroom apartment in Pasadena. My father had finished attending Caltech at the time, hence why I’ve been to the campus a few times and know the layout and can conjure it in my dreams. There actually is a quad there, a nice well kept piece of grass, multiple fountains actually but they’re round and without vegetation, and two shallow rectangular ponds with lilies and undergrowth and crayfish. I actually remember fishing for crayfish when I was young with twigs. I’d poke at them with the twig until they’re angry enough to clamp a the stick with their claws, then I’d pull them out of the water. It’s a running joke that my mother would eat anything; she’s been known to go crabbing at the local beaches for those tiny little crabs that run around the breakwaters; I don’t think she’d actually eat them, or has, but I think my catching the crayfish may have had something to do with that joke. Not that they were ever eaten I don’t think. So I knew the area well and had wandered around it. Now this obviously also can’t be my actual first memory of the States because I would’ve had to have been to Caltech at some point first, but I don’t remember that. As far as the scar on the palm of my hand goes, it’s actually the natural lines everybody has on the palms of their hands; I was just too young at the time to realize that everybody had them and so was rightly scared out of my mind when I looked at my hand after waking from my dream to find multiple scar like lines right where the mantis had cut me. I’ve also been rather afraid of mantises since then, and bugs and insects and the likes in general; this may also have something to do with my earlier memories of smashing then marveling at the beauty of earth worms. Though they’re still really gross. I remember once, having horrible indigestion while climbing up a mountain in China no less being forced to use the most disgusting squat toilet I’ve ever seen in my life, shoes inch deep in I can only imagine, starring in horror at this earth worm stretch then shorten as it moved its way through this rather unholy muck next to my shoes. I also don’t know why this particular dream has stuck with my all these years. I’m sure of the details, I’m sure that it was a dream, and I’m sure of when it happened. I have no such assurance for any other dreams I’ve ever had, though I do have the benefit of having written some of them down in the past, not that I know where they are now. Hmmmm…I wonder if I can find them.

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emily | March 28th, 2010 

If you can find or remember them, I’m interested in more dream memories. I’ve logged many of my dreams over the years too (though not as early as 6, I must say!) Still loving this series of posts. Miss you too, lots!

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